York Town Square

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The York Gazette trotted out the Handy Almanac as a handy fundraiser

Joseph N. Gallagher of York, Pa., found this Gazette Almanac in his grandfather’s belongings. His grandfather was the late Rev. Norman Ort, founder and minister of West York’s Four Square Gospel Church. Also of interest: York County newspaper gets new wardrobe, some nips and tucks and 1874 York Daily: Is it worth anything? and Newspaper’s founding date hard to pin down.

Joe Gallagher found a prize among the stuff his late grandfather Norman Ort left behind: a Handy Almanac Encyclopedia and Year Book, dated 1916.
The guts of the 142-page softcover book contained national information for those relatively quiet moment before the deadly years of American involvement in World War I and the Spanish influenza epidemic.
The cover, inside title page and back cover were custom printed to tout The Gazette of York, Pa., then operating out of its 35-37 E. King St. plant.
There’s a story there… .

J.W. Gitt was in his first year of what would become a 55-year reign as owner of The Gazette. His paper would pick up The Daily from the York Dispatch in 1918 to become known as The Gazette and Daily.
Anyway, Gitt bought a struggling newspaper, and the almanac was a time-honored way for a newspaper to add to its revenue line. Since the days of Ben Franklin and before, newspapers had supplemented their bottom line with the sales of almanacs and related publications. The revenue from the 25-cent Handy Almanac would have meant something to The Gazette, predecessor of the York Daily Record.
The book’s back cover touts The Gazette’s best qualities:

– Circulates daily among a great majority of the best homes in York County.
– Advocates temperance, civic righteousness and all things which tend to make a better and more prosperous community.
– Contains all the latest news from all parts of the world, attractively arranged and easy to read.
– A woman’s page of real value to the housewife.
– News of great help to the Agriculturist, including full and accurate market reports.

The Gazette and Daily evolved into a left-of-center political voice under Gitt. The Hanover native became controversial on a number of fronts, but he remained true to at least one part of that back-cover pledge – the temperance clause.
His newspaper did not accept advertising promoting alcoholic beverages, tobacco use or patent medicines. Gitt’s Gazette and Daily separated itself from the newspaper pack in a lot of ways, and this advertising stance was particularly noteworthy.
And he took that position from the beginning, as Joe Gallagher’s almanac indicates.